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Muzzle Flashes


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#1 Benjamin G

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:56 PM

So I have a short film that is 'in talks'. Likely it will never come to fruition, but just in case I thought I would ask what you guys think would be the best way to light the end shot.

Essentially there are a couple of gangsters in a bar talking, then eventually they pull guns on each other. It cuts to exterior (Night) and you are supposed to see the muzzle flashes in the windows. Just to clarify, you won't be seeing any actors or the guns or actual muzzle flare through the windows. Just the room lighting up due to the muzzle flare.

How would you do it?
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#2 Jonathan Wilcox

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 01:58 AM

So I have a short film that is 'in talks'. Likely it will never come to fruition, but just in case I thought I would ask what you guys think would be the best way to light the end shot.

Essentially there are a couple of gangsters in a bar talking, then eventually they pull guns on each other. It cuts to exterior (Night) and you are supposed to see the muzzle flashes in the windows. Just to clarify, you won't be seeing any actors or the guns or actual muzzle flare through the windows. Just the room lighting up due to the muzzle flare.

How would you do it?


This can be done very simply and effectively using dimmers.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:27 AM

Xenon strobes - even camera flashguns, depending how many rounds you want to see fired.

With any very brief flashes of light, whether xenon strobes or just dimmers, be careful with rolling shutter cameras which may image the flash over only part of the frame.

P
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#4 ChrisHood

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:24 PM

You could rent a set of louvered shutters for cine lights.
Use them on a separate brighter light that has been gelled warmer than
your other lights to simulate muzzle flash.
The shutters are placed in front of this light in a closed position.
When desired, simply "flash" open the louvers to create the muzzle effect.
This is how they used to do these types of effects before newer, modern lighting
instruments like Lightning Strikes were invented.
This should be a fairly affordable way to do the shot you've described.
The trick will be achieving a believable balance and finding a suitable angle for
for your "Gun" light to work from.

Good Luck
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:45 PM

OK, to clarify, as I understand it we're not making reflections in the windows. We're outside looking at the building, and seeing through the windows that the interior lights up with brief warm flashes from various locations.

The muzzle flash is basically a small omnidirectional source, much like a bare lightbulb. So, I'd go with bare incandescent bulbs on dimmers for the various gun positions. Dim them down to a warm yellow.

Start with only your base lighting on, and the camera very securely locked off. Roll enough of that to cover the entire scene. Then have your gaffer turn on flare position #1 for about 10 seconds, then off again. Repeat for flare position #2, #3, etc. It's a wrap, you're done, all in one take for absolute stability.

Now, in the editing room, choose where - actually when - you want your muzzle flashes. Merely cut in one or two frames of the various flash positions whenever you want them.

The beauty of this is it's immune to the rolling shutter issue, you can use any camera.





-- J.S.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:45 PM

And if you can't do shutters, you can even get away, perhaps with black-cards in front of the light's barn doors which are removed and replaced quickly. Shutters are awesome though, if a bit noisy.
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#7 Matt Pacini

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 05:55 PM

I had this same problem.

It's simple:
Get a couple of regular camera flash units (or just tell everyone to bring their cameras with on-camera flashes).
Sync everyone up and start flashing!

Those things are very bright - I did this shooting Kodachrome 40, and it blew out everything even on that slow of stock!

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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 07:37 PM

The beauty of this is it's immune to the rolling shutter issue, you can use any camera.



See, I thought about wandering around the set with a lightbulb on a black stick, to provide light sourcing for CGI spark hits and so on, but it does rather force you to shoot your high-octane action scene in lockoffs.

The thought occurs to shoot the light sources in DSLR stills covering a wider area than the final shot, then you can track it in and at least have handheld.

This, and the other alternative of doing it with motion control, seems like more work than it's worth. I must get around to implementing that synced strobe.

P
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#9 John Sprung

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 08:08 PM

... but it does rather force you to shoot your high-octane action scene in lockoffs....


OK, true.... So, frame the lockoff rather loose, cut the flashes in, then put a handheld bobble on the results.





-- J.S.
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#10 Benjamin G

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 06:53 PM

Lots of good ideas, thanks.

I know a local guy who recently bought a dimmer board so if this goes ahead I'll try to go that route. It'll be shot on a JVC HD100 w/P+S Technik Mini35c so I'm not worried about rolling shutters.

I like the bare incandescent idea also, I'll keep that in mind as a backup. I have a hard time imagining it would be bright enough to sell the effect though. I suspect I would have to use at least a 100w bulb.
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 02:15 AM

I suspect I would have to use at least a 100w bulb.


Yup. I've got a few little inky dink bare bulb sockets and even one for a 2K. Good hardware stores used to carry up to 500's in Mogul base. That would probably be the cost effective choice for your job.


-- J.S.
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